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Showing posts with label solder. Show all posts
Showing posts with label solder. Show all posts

Arizona Artist Series: Alex Babic of White Crow Works Q & A


silver jewelry collection with semiprecious stones


How did you get into metalsmithing?

"I developed an obsession with turquoise in 2018. It literally developed overnight. Until then, I used to think it was an "old lady stone", guess I'm an old lady now ;). Anyhow, I bought a few pieces of old Navajo jewelry and the workmanship was amazing, so I wanted to know how it was all put together. I looked up silversmithing classes and came up on Harold studio and the rest is history (not that long of a history I guess).

 
What inspires you?

I find inspiration in different places...antiques, old metal structures and even stones themselves (sometimes I "sit" on them until it "comes" to me what they should be). My love for vintage and rustic shows in textures and designs of my jewelry.


Copper Cuff, Turquoise Rings and Pendants


What is your design process?

Design process...as much as I overplan in all other aspects of my life, jewelry design just comes to me. I start working on something and it develops into a piece of jewelry. Don't get me wrong, I have rocks that I started months ago and have yet to become anything…someday.


What is your favorite tool?

Favorite tool- hands down rolling mill. I love texture, it gives life to a plain piece of metal. You can add depth, designs, whole stories to your piece. It's so forgiving as well, if you don't love what you did, you can wipe the "slate" clean and start all over.


cCopper Cuff, silver earrings, pendants and rings

What is on your bench right now?

There's always a turquoise stone and a buffalo nickel in various stages of completion on my bench.

Silver pendants and rings

Do you have any upcoming shows? 

No upcoming shows at this time, I do plan on doing some in the future.  Meanwhile you can find my work on Instagram @whitecrowworks and Etsy whitecrowworks.etsy.com/."


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Avoid Melting Your Project. Hot Tips for Saving Your Jewelry Creation and Keeping a Cool Head in the Process.




Everyone melts their jewelry piece when in the middle of creating their design idea from time to time. Everyone. Those with years of experience do it, too.  However, we all want to do better, be more efficient in our work -  wasting less time and material.

melted bezel

Here are some tips to help you melt your creations less often:


Always focus on heating the metal, not the solder. Look to achieve a muted orange-red glow vs. a bright orange color of your metal. The latter could quickly turn your bezel or other smaller elements into a metal puddle.
Heat the metal evenly, using the outer-most part of your flame, moving your torch slowly in circular motions over your piece.
Concentrate the heat of the torch on the larger parts of your piece – the base, a band, for example, instead of the bezel or other smaller delicate decorations. Keep in mind that metal is conductive. Heat will travel throughout your piece from the larger elements to the smaller ones.
As you heat your piece, move the torch closer to the blue tip of the flame. When you do this you, you will notice that the metal will change color to a bright orange-red glow. When you see this color change, put the torch flame on the joint where you put the solder.  Watch for a liquid line of solder running along/onto the seam.

torch flame with solder pick Once the solder has flowed, pull your torch away and turn it off.
Stay focused on the goal. Yes, it sounds trite, or obvious, but sometimes it’s common for jewelry artist to start envisioning the finished piece, or other possibilities as they work and not on the task at hand. This can lead to melting a piece, too.
                                                                                                                                                                     
We hope these tips help you to keep a cool head when heating up your piece, and be more productive overall. If you want to learn more about the jewelry design process, or make specific styles, Harold Studio hosts classes every month. Learn more about them here.
torch fired with tripod


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Keeping track of Solder

Here at the studio, I have a hard time keeping track of solder. Because there are so many people using the studio, sometimes things don't get put back in their designated space. If I didn't have a system for knowing what is hard, medium and easy solder, I would go crazy.

Here is my system as well as a handy sign you are more than welcome to print out and use for yourself!

• Only use sheet solder

• Color code it with a sharpie:

    Black for Hard
    Red for Medium
    Blue for Easy

I have a color guide for anyone who doesn't know at the studio
hard, medium, easy, solder, silver, color guide


• Keep it in a container like this one.

solder, box, blue, organized
 I have the container labeled so I can just flip open the lid and see...

My solder, in its right place, ready to be cut and used!

Do you have any other ways you use to keep track of your solder? Please share them with us!
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